“A dog has the soul of a philosopher.” – Plato
Are you one of the 70% of people who sign their pet dog’s name on greeting cards? No need to confess, just read on! Did you know that three dogs actually survived the Titanic? They were a Newfoundland, a Pomeranian and a Pekingese. I do not know what was in their genetic makeup which helped them do that. Maybe they were just lucky.
So, are dog breeds all different? What role does genetics, training and the dog’s own personality play in determining whether they are indeed man’s best friend? Let us look at 8 facts which are backed by science which will help us understand this better.Advertising
1. Belgian shepherd dogs can sniff out cancer and other diseases
It is generally known that dogs have an extremely acute sense of smell, about 100,000 times sharper than ours. Scientific studies have been done on the Belgian shepherd dogs (the Malinois) which have shown that they can detect prostate cancer in men. These dogs were able to correctly detect the cancer by sniffing urine samples.
Apparently cancer cells leave a particular odor which these dogs can pick up, after training. They got 63 out of 66 right! These studies were conducted by a French researcher and were presented at a conference organized by the American Urological Association.
2. Border collies, poodles and German shepherds are the most intelligent dogs
If you ever wanted a really intelligent dog as a pet, choose one of the above. These dogs are actually as clever as a two year child and they can process up to 165 different gestures, movements and words. Not bad for a dog. The Afghan hound comes at the bottom of the list as being pretty dumb. These findings were the result of research carried out by a canine researcher, Dr. Stanley Coren, of the University of British Columbia.Advertising
3. There’s selective breeding for tailor made dogs
Consumer tastes and dog breeders have collaborated in producing dog breeds which meet market demands. This is why we have hunting dogs, sociable dogs and guard dogs. The only problem here is that the inbreeding leads to many dogs having typical diseases which are now very hard to eliminate.
Golden retrievers are more liable to get cancer while King Charles spaniels may have more heart diseases. Experts say that pugs could be bred to have larger muzzles so that they do not suffer from respiratory diseases, like they do now.
4. A special dog breed is supposed to help autistic children
A cross breed of the golden retriever and poodle (the golden doodle) is now being bred to help children with autism (ASD). They have been incredibly successful in that the kids’ sleeping patterns and general behavior have improved by leaps and bounds. This new breed of dog combines the star qualities of both in that they are friendly, patient, loyal and above all forgiving when the kids give them a rough time. These dogs have enriched the lives of autistic children and helped them to lead more normal lives.Advertising
5. Chocolate can kill a dog
Chocolate can make your dog very sick or even kill him or her. An 8 lb. pound poodle was fed one pound of chocolate on her birthday and nearly died. If you feed a golden retriever who weighs about 60 pounds with a bag of Hershey kisses, then the effects will be much less severe. The problem is that chocolate contains theobromine which is toxic for dogs. Another bad idea is to feed a dog with apple or pear seeds as these contain arsenic which can also be fatal for dogs.
6. The Newfoundland is the best swimmer
This breed of dog is known for its webbed feet and strong swimming skills. It is no surprise to learn that it was first used to help fisherman in Newfoundland to pull in their nets and also in helping to haul back wood from the forests. They have a double waterproof coat which helps them survive in icy waters. They are strong, loving, courageous, and loyal. They make great guard dogs, too. The only problem is that they adore water and mud which can make them a difficult home pet.
7. Moscow stray dogs
These 35,000 feral dogs are famous for many reasons. One is that they have become much smarter at getting people to drop their snacks just bought at the food kiosks. They sneak up and bark at the customer who, startled, drops it and the dog gobbles it up. This is known as “the hunt for shawarma”.Advertising
Another incredible thing is that these dogs have become adept at travelling on the subway to get from one part of the city to the other. They seem to possess an inbuilt sense of timing to know when to get off at the right metro stop! They are also better behaved on the metro than they are on the streets when hunting down food. Biologists, such as Andrei Poyarkov, who have studied these dogs noticed that they have learned how to cross streets by using the traffic lights. They have also adapted to the continually evolving Russian capital.
8. Dogs who look like wolfs live longer
Generally, dogs live about 15 years but this does vary according to the size and face features of whichever breed we are talking about. Bulldogs and pugs who have flat muzzles tend to live shorter lives. Those who look more like their wolf ancestors with sharp, pointed features will live longer. This is just one of the fun facts mentioned in Planet Dog: A Doglopedia by Sandra and Harry Choron. The longest living dog was a Queensland Heeler called Bluey who lived to the ripe old age of 29 years and 5 months.
Do you have any fun facts about dog breeds to pass on?
Featured photo credit: Spoosquatch/ Perry McKenna via flickr.com
Last Updated on August 15, 2018
7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day
Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.
Why is it important to train up our core strength?
There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.
This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.
Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.
In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.
One Exercise, multiple benefits
There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.
By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.
When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.
Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.
In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.
What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.
What will happen when you start doing planks every day
1. You’ll improve core definition and performance:
Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:
- Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
- Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
- Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
- Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.
2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column
Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.
Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.
3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism
Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).
4. You’ll significantly improve your posture
Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .
A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.
A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.
On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.
5. You’ll improve overall balance
Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!- but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.
6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before
Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shoulders, shoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.
7. You’ll witness mental benefits
Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.
How to hold a plank position
- Get into pushup position on the floor.
- Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
- Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
- Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
- Hold the position for as long as you can.
- Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
- When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.
Watch the video if you have any doubt!
Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:
How to improve your plank time gradually
- Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
- Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
- Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.
Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.
Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?
You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:
- After prolapse surgery
- Pelvic pain conditions
- Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
- Previous childbirth
Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.